The race for Tory leader is on

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The Institute for Government argues that there is no decisive route to blocking No Deal and they won’t be able to use the same tactics as the last time to stop No Deal. Parliamentary procedure offers no route and so the only way to stop it is by a vote of no confidence in the government, which will be a huge gamble for the Conservatives.

With the Conservative Party almost wiped out in the European Elections, Theresa May finally said that she would resign, which for most people couldn’t come soon enough.

This isn’t the first time this happened. Several Conservative Party leaders either destroyed themselves or were destroyed by others throughout its history. This is down to, in some cases, their fanatical commitment to the EU. Conservative MP John Redwood pointed out in his article for Comment Central that some Conservative Party leaders adopted this stance despite annoying many members of the party and evoking strong opposition from some Conservative MPs. Worse, it did considerable damage to Britain and its economy, leading to a loss of confidence by voters generally. We all know that Margaret Thatcher was ousted by her own MPs in 1990 over her opposition to European federalism. John Major insisted on crippling the UK economy by putting us into the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). The resulting boom and bust undermined the Conservative reputation for economic competence and put the party out of office for 13 years.

David Cameron resigned when he lost the EU referendum. Theresa May became Prime Minister and promised to deliver the Brexit vote. However, she seemed intent on continuing much the same relationship under a different name. For example, instead of the EU’s Customs Union, she called it a Customs Arrangement. May was initially about to put her ‘meaningful vote’ on the treaty for a fourth time in the hope that it would pass, which would result in the Brexit Party not being able to take their seats in the European Parliament. Out of desperation, May tried to get Corbyn’s Labour to get her treaty through, which collapsed as Corbyn withdrew from the talks. This was another example of Theresa May appeasing only the Remoaners and ignoring the pro-Brexit crowd. In the planned talks, May sweetened with an offer to let MPs vote on holding a rigged second referendum whereby both options were Remain. This action fell at the first hurdle and in response Theresa May announced that she would step down on the 7th June 2019 (if anyone believes her that is).

There were reactions to the news relating to her resignation. Lots of people were glad to see her go because she had not taken Britain out of the EU on the 29th March on World Trade Organisation terms if she couldn’t get a deal. May extended the deadline through a government motion, which was passed.

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The million pound question remains; who is going to succeed her? At first, Boris Johnson was a clear favourite among the grassroots Conservative Party (the membership). Johnson came out saying that to get a good deal, No Deal has to be on the table during talks. Is this a way of trying to get people to defect back to the Conservatives from the Brexit Party or does Boris Johnson actually mean it? A number of Conservative MPs announced their bid for the leadership. So far, they were Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Michael Gove, Esther McVey, Matt Hancock, Andrea Leadsom, Liz Truss, Mark Harper, Steve Baker, James Cleverly, Penny Mordaunt, Rory Stewart and Graham Brady. The frontrunner at the time when May announced her resignation was Dominic Raab, who was Brexit Secretary for a brief time after when his predecessor David Davis resigned over the Remain Chequers agreement May tried to push in July 2018. That same David Davis is now backing Dominic Raab. Also backing Raab were famous names such as Andrea Jenkyns and Suella Braverman. Boris Johnson meanwhile, is backed by Jacob Rees-Mogg (who needs no introduction as the name says it all) and former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. Initially, in terms of the number of MPs backing candidates, Dominic Raab is in first place one week into the Conservative leadership contest. On the 31st May, Mark Harper had six MPs backing him with fellow contender Michael Gove in 1st place. The race was getting crowded and would get more crowded with Priti Patel and Penny Mordaunt about to launch their campaigns.

What about No Deal? Jeremy Hunt and Rory Stewart attacked No Deal thereby making the same mistake as Theresa May and David Cameron before them. Brussels won’t agree to any change in the agreement. Both voted Remain so it says it all really. Hunt went further and said he would rather overturn Brexit by delaying it than go for the most popular course: No Deal. Others like Esther McVey urged the next government to embrace No Deal thereby going with 66% of the grassroots who favour No Deal. One of the big figures during the referendum for Vote Leave, Michael Gove, only said that Brexit must happen before the next General Election, which is currently scheduled for 2022. Whoever gets into power won’t be able to stop No Deal, especially if a new PM goes for it. The Institute for Government argues that there is no decisive route to blocking No Deal and they won’t be able to use the same tactics as the last time to stop No Deal. Parliamentary procedure offers no route and so the only way to stop it is by a vote of no confidence in the government, which will be a huge gamble for the Conservatives.

By the middle of June, 6 contenders were left as the other either pulled out or were eliminated in the first round: Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Rory Stewart and Michael Gove. There is a big chance that Johnson could become the next PM.

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